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No. 103 








Deputy Minister 

No. 102 NOVEMBER 1969 






Minister Deputy Minister 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 


No. 103 

Minutes of Deer Range Improvement 
Workshop, North Bay, June 24, 25 and 26 

- Stan Munroe 

November 1969 


Deer Tagging - North Bay District 

Ron Campbell 


Deer Tagging - Aberdeen Deer Yard 

Ed Mantle 


Lindsay District Deer Tagging Project 
Peterborough Crown Game Preserve, 
1959 - 63 

- A. R. Henderson 


Capturing and Tagging of Deer 
Parry Sound District 1968 - 69 

G. Winter ton 


Capturing - Tagging Deer - 
Pembroke District 

L. L. Trodd 
M. L. Wilton 


Netting White-Tailed Deer in Ontario 

- H. G. Cumming 


Analysis and Criticism of Browse 
Surveys Done in Carling #2 Deer Yard 
Parry Sound District 

Allan Edie 
John Henderson 


Management: of Deer Range, 
The Forester's Role 

- L. J. Post 


(Editor's Note: 

This issue 103 of the Resource Management Report series is a 
special issue dealing entirely with deer and their management. 
The minutes of the 1969 Deer Range Improvement Workshop, papers 
presented there on Deer Tagging plus two other interesting reports 
on deer management have been grouped together in this issue for 
handy reference). 

NORTH BAY, JUNE 24, 25 and 26 


Stan MUNROE, Biologist 
Parry Sound District 

The following are the minutes of the Third Deer Range Improvement 
Workshop held in North Bay, June 24-26, 1969. The chief ranger headquarters 
at Trout Lake was the site of this gathering which involved representatives from 
Head Office and the following districts: Kemptville, Pembroke, Tweed, Lindsay, 
Lake Simcoe,Lake Huron, Parry Sound, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. 

Tuesday, June 24 

The meeting began at 9:00 a.m. Following introductions, 
Don Simkin , Game Management Section, Maple, took the floor. Mr. Simkin suggested 
that the emergency phase (Phase 1) of the Deer Range Improvement Program be 
de-emphasized with the concentration now on the long range aspect (Phase 2) 
of the program. He mentioned that Pat Karms will be arriving in August as the 
Deer Range Biologist, thus completing the Head Office staff of the DRI Program. 
(Note: Mr. Karms has since informed the Department that he would not be 
accepting the position). The program has entered another phase this year with 
the hiring of Stan Munroe as the first District Deer Range Biologist. Stan 
will be stationed at Parry Sound for a year for training. Now that Head Office 
staff is complete and the field staff is being strengthened, we can be more 
critical of our range improvement techniques. Mr. Simkin proposed that the name 
of the program be changed from Deer Range Improvement (DRI) to Deer Range 
Management (DRM) to describe the program's long range aspect. 

The meeting was then turned over to the Chairman, Dr. Harold 
Cumming, Big Game Management Subsection, Maple. 

Dr . Cumming further stressed the need for the long range aspect 
of the deer management program, and suggested that we all present constructive 
discussion and appraisal of each district's improvement program. 

The following papers were then presented by the delegates from 
the participating districts. 

Sault Ste Marie 

Ed Mantle - He described the grid-cutting techniques they had 
been using in the district. This method produced abundant browse over a wide 
area, creating plenty of edge effect. This, he felt, was superior to the block 
cutting, they did some scarification but suggested this was not practical over 
the entire range due to the rough terrain. Another part of their program was 
the erection of exclosures on the treatment areas. Ed indicated that the 
small difference noted in browse production between the open and exclosed areas 
during the first year made exclosures impractical for assessment. His presenta- 
tion ended after a series of slides of some treatment areas in the district. 

Following the paper the following points were discussed: 
(1) exclosures - Don Simkin suggested that the erection of exclosures in treat- 
ment areas would provide the public a chance to view deer range improvement. 
Alex Matiece stated that several years following treatment, exclosures would 
point out the spectacular differences in browse production between an open and 
an exclosed area. 

(ii) commercial cutting - Bert Post insisted that the success of the DRM 
program depends upon the stimulation of more commercial pulpwood operations 
throughout the entire deer range. 

(iii) Grid-cutting technique - Dr. Cumming asked whether this technique could be 
applied in other districts. John Macfie suggested that this method would not 
be practical in the Parry Sound District due to the broken timber types and the 

Sudbury District 

Jim Shepard presented the Sudbury program and stressed that Drolet 
was responsible for the program in that district. Work during the previous year 
was done in the Killarney, Espanola and Burwash yards. There was no systematic 
approach to their cutting, for it was done where the deer were found wintering. 
Thus work was spread over a wider range and cost and effort were reduced. They 
feel their program has been quite successful to date for utilization is high and 
they think they are drawing in deer to the treated areas from as far as 40 
miles away. Members of the public are seeing their treatments and claim to be 
seeing more deer, thus the public is backing up their program. They feel 
that more effective wolf control is essential in their district to make their 
project a success. 

Following the Sudbury presentation a discussion was raised con- 
cerning the aesthetic and commercial value of deer in Ontario. Mike Wilton a nd 
Lionel Trodd stated the problems they are faced with in the Pembroke District 
which includes a large share of Algonquin Park. Don Siiakin cleared up the con- 
troversy by stating that Head Office was providing funds to improve deer range 
to create more deer for better hunting not viewing. 

Lake Simcoe 

Bob Trotter and Harold VanWyck presented the Lake Simcoe program. 
Deer range improvement was carried out in four northern townships during the 
1968-69 year. Their program is faced with a number of problems: the inaccessi- 
bility of deer yards, the predomination of private land in their district and 
excessive wolf predation. Before they do any cutting, they cruise the yards 
and find the areas where deer are bedding down. Then they select plots in 
these areas and patch-cut. 

A series of slides were shown of the work done in their district, 
illustrating the tremendous growth and utilization of the plots one year after 

North Bay 

Ron Campbell - Treatment during the past year was done in the 
Bertram, Antoine, Martin River and Mattawa deer yards. Treatment techniques 
included hand cutting and girdling in long narrow strips along natural deer 
trails. They are aiming for a treatment turnover in each yard of 3 to 4 years. 
Ron mentioned that a television program was made of the Department's work in 
the Mattawa yard last year, and it was a public relations success. 

The North Bay presentation closed after a series of slides. 


Lionel Trodd and Mike Wilton gave the report on the Pembroke 1967- 
1968 deer range management program. 

Deer Range improvement techniques included cutting by chain saws 
and clearing by bulldozers. Bulldozer work started later in winter than other 
methods and was a great success. The trails created by the machines were heavily 
used by deer. In some cases, these were made purposely to direct deer to feed 
in many treated areas to prevent concentration and over-utilization. 

In addition to treatment for food, District staff was involved 
in an extensive program to map the deer yards in the district. Fish and Wild- 
life staff initiated a program for cover planting. Timber Branch planted 100,000 
spruce seedlings in areas selected by Fish and Wildlife staff in the Bonneschere 

They feel their program is highly successful and is being accepted 
by the public as a result of good press coverage. More effective predator 
control and enforcement are considered necessary to further improve their program, 
Their presentation came to a close with a series of informative slides. 

Lake Huron 

Reports on deer range management for 1968-69 were given by Dan 
Mansell, Jack Armstrong and Bill Grieve . All the improvement work took place 
on the Bruce Peninsula. The deer range improvement program is hampered by rocky 
terrain with poor soil, the over -abundance of cover and the lack of crown land. 
They have been working on methods to permit the release of dogwood and aspen for 
food. Assessments have shown abundant coppice growth on dogwood, aspen and ash. 

Parry Sound 

Jack Mac fie - Deer Range Improvement has been in existence in this 
district for the past seven years. To date, in 45 yards, 1,131 acres of low 
grade hardwood have been cut down. Browse stimulation by hand tools has been 
the basic technique since the terrain is not cunducive to bulldozing. Cutting 
has been selective rather than systematic. Cover areas are located and cutting 
is done nearby. Red and hard maple have been the major species treated. Treat- 
ment was continued last year as in the past, except that there was more contract- 
ing of work. Costs for contracted work were lower than for work done by Depart- 
ment employees. Some scarification was done in remnanat hemlock stands to aid 
the natural seeding of hemlock. This was probably a failure for 1968 was a poor 
seed year for hemlock. 

The program in Parry Sound is getting to the point now where they 
need to re-treat previously treated yards . Few yards remain that have not 
been treated, and these occur on private land. To date there has been little 
difficulty in getting approval to do range improvement work on private lands. 


Steve Toole - Sixteen project areas in the district were selected 
for browse improvement. Hand treatment was the basic cutting technique. Signs 
of malnutrition in older deer and fawns near the Peterborough Crown Preserve, 
prompted intensive treatment for browse in seven areas adjacent to the Preserve. 
Most of the Crown land in the district has now been treated. The program in 
future must concentrate on the improvement of deer range on private land which 
makes up two- thirds of the District. 


Frank Cheshire - Deer yard inventory and mapping have beeen the 
major emphasis of the deer range management program to date. We are now ready 
to use this inventory information for the long range program to improve winter 

deer range. Treatment measures have been divided along three lines: non- 
commercial planned, non-commercial emergency, and commercial planned. 


Romeo Belanger - Practically nothing was done during the past year 
for deer range improvement for food production. Some inventory was done but the 
main work was the planting of spruce and pine seedlings to improve cover. This 
was part of a project to develop three hundred acres of agricultural land as 
habitat for ruffed grouse, hungarian partridge and deer. 

This report ended the presentations of each District's DRI 
program and ended the first day of the session. 

Wednesday, June 25 

The meeting resumed on Wednesday morning with Dr. dimming in the 
chair. The first half of the morning session was basically discussion. The 
first point discussed was the need for closer liaison among the departmental 
branches to make DRM a success. The greatest co-operation is needed with 
Timber Branch; cutting methods could be improved as a result. It was felt by 
all concerned that close liaison is necessary between Fish and Wildlife and 
Parks Branches when yards which harbour huntable deer are found on Parks 
lands. It was further emphasized that the DRM program was set up to provide 
more deer for hunting not viewing. 

DRM Costs 

Dr . Cumming initiated a discussion of DRM costs - what is the 
investment doing for deer? Can each district be any more efficient? It was 
pointed out that since each district has its own definition of costs per gross 
and net acre, it was necessary to standardize cost interpretation to permit 
comparisons among districts. 

Bert Post presented a plan for cost standardization. He suggested 
that the cost figures from each district's report should stand alone so that 
data can be easily extracted for comparison. However, it was decided by the 
delegates that Head Office send out a standard format to each district for 
review. Suggestions on improving the format should be sent back from each 
district, then a final format be designed from this. 

Legal Problems 

A further discussion centred around the legal approach to 
deer range improvement on private land. During the emergency phase of the 
program, treatments were done primarily in yards which were on Crown land. 
To complete the deer range improvement program the work must now concentrate 
on private lands. 

A formal legal agreement has been created by Law Branch to be 
used when treatment is to be done on private land. The major criticism voiced 
by the delegates was the "25 year clause" in the legal agreement, which 
prevented a landowner from cutting merchantable timber on his land for 25 
years without Department approval. Landowners may not want to have their land 
tied up for that long. Another criticism of the legal agreement was that it 
was too complicated with legal terms to be understood by landowners and it was 
not flexible enough. 

Frank Walden , Wildlife Section, Toronto, defended the legal 
agreement by emphasizing that it is a protective measure for the investment and 
the Department. He felt it would be most unfortunate if a landowner could cut 
at any time he pleased after the Department spent money to manage the area. 
What is needed is DRM clauses written into the Woodlands Improvement Act, then 
management plans for an area for forestry and wildlife could be worked out 
by Fish and Wildlife and Timber Branches to be presented to the landowner for 
his consideration. 

The opinion of most field staff was that this legal approach to 
deer range work on private land is not practical the way it exists „ John Mac fie 
(Parry Sound) felt that their work would be slowed down considerably if they 
abided by this formal agreement. In the past they have written letters to land- 
owners and have been very successful in selling their program to perhaps 50 
of them. 

Dr . Cumming then posed this question: How does the DRM program 
tie in with the issuance of timber licences? Don Honeyborn of the North Bay 
Timber Branch informed the group that his district had arranged to have a clause 
written into their timber licences stating that deer shelter areas would be 
protected from cutting. 

Alex Matiece, Deer Range Forester (Maple) gave a short talk on 
the silvicultural characteristics of regenerating hemlock. Hemlock is a very 
important cover species and has disappeared at an alarming rate. Plantations 
might be the answer in developing new stands of hemlock or rejuvenating 
remnant stands. Regenerating hemlock seedlings have narrower site requirements 
than most other conifers and have proven difficult to grow artificially. A 
cool moist shady micro-climate is required for hemlock to regenerate. An 
interesting thing about this species is that they can withstand suppression for 
a number of years but can grow at a phenominal rate following release. 

An experimental hemlock plantation was started this spring in 
the Killbear Provincial Park, Parry Sound District. Approximately 1,000 
seedlings were planted and if proven successful, the overstory will be cut 
allowing release of the hemlock. 

Alex stated that future needs for hemlock, spruce and pine 
seedlings in DRM projects will be each district's concern, and will be included 
in each district's timber forecast. 

Bert Post , Deer Range Ecologist (Maple) presented a paper on 
mountain maple. His paper was a summary of results he gathered from several 
research projects done on this species in northwestern New Brunswick. He 
found that mountain maple did not produce rootsuckers and produced abundant 
seed crops only one year in six. However, following clear cutting, mountain 
maple will sprout and layer vigorously. Frank Cheshire (Tweed) suggested that 
dogwood and other important shrubs eaten by deer could be managed more effec- 
tively if they had similar silvicultural characteristics to mountain maple. 

Dan Mansell (Lake Huron) questioned whether the Department was 
contemplating the issuance of grants (from DRM funds) to university students 
to study problems concerned with the deer range program. This could operate 
similar to the co-operative wildlife units in the States. This could be a 
most beneficial program and would supplement our staff. 

The final part of the program in the afternoon was a deer 
census symposium chaired by Robin Hepburn of Research Branch. 

The first speaker was John Mac fie (Parry Sound.) He presented 
a paper on deer census techniques written by Carman Douglas of the Parry 
Sound District. John added some of his own comments on deer censusing 
methods in the district. He mentioned that their staff did a crotising count 
in the Killbear yard the past spring. They did not believe the population 
estimate obtained, so they repeated the survey, only this time they stratified 
it. An almost identical population estimate was obtained. With this result 
the pellet count method has some merits, though it has inherent weaknesses. 
What ultimately is required to make this method more valid is a more 
adequate knowledge of deer movements, with a more concentrated effort to pre- 
cisely determine where deer are yarding each winter. 

Mike Wilton (Pembroke) added that the public will soon want 
to know the size of our deer herds, and will be very dissatisfied with our 
inability to determine deer numbers. 

The next speaker was Dan Mansell of the Lake Huron District. 

He mentioned that by a combination of yard crotising counts and hunter kill 
data they came up with an estimate of 2,000 - 2,500 deer in the Bruce Peninsula. 
The basic weakness of the pellet count survey is that the yarding period is 
too rigid and must be altered according to conditions rather than always being 
leaf- fall date to date of survey. 

John Mac fie (Parry Sound) suggested that tagging and radio 
telemetry might answer the questions concerning deer movements and yarding period, 

Following lunch, Mike Wilton (Pembroke) gave a paper on deer 
census in the Pembroke District. A district-wide crotising count was completed 
during the past year. By sampling 1,200 plots in yarding areas only, an 
estimate was made of 14,500 deer for the entire district. Robin Hepburn of 
(Research Branch) suggested that this estimate might be a gross underestimate 
of the deer population. Dr . Cumming explained that in Europe deer densities 
are always underestimated. 

Milan Novak (Fur Management, Maple) suggested that crotising 
counts were probably the only way of estimating deer numbers. He spoke of a 
study he did in Michigan on the efficiency of personnel doing pellet group 
surveys. He found that the rate of efficiency varied in different types of 
terrain and at different times of year, and that efficiency dropped as a result 
of fatigue. 

It must be the opinion of all connected with deer surveys that 
the many variables encountered in the pellet group count obscure its accuracy, 
but that it is the best and only method we have. There is indeed an immediate 
need for a standard accurate technique to estimate deer populations in Ontario. 

The next part of the agenda concerned Predator Control. John 
Shannon (Fur Management) and George Kolenosky (Research Branch) took over the 
meeting. George presented some unpublished results of his wolf research in 
the Pakesley study area in the Parry Sound District. Through a study of wolf 
movements he found that 8.4 percent of the deer in the area were removed by 
wolf predation. This figure was much less than anticipated in this area which 
had an average wolf density of 1 per 10 square miles. He found that deer were 
killed at the rate of one every 2.2 days during the past winter. Predation 
efficiency was 63 percent in 1968-69 as compared to 25 percent in the 1967-68 
winter. This greater efficiency was probably a result of the heavily packed 
snow condition during the previous winter. 

Predation was generally quite evenly distributed among the 
deer age classes in the Pakesley area. The age composition of all deer kills 
examined from all districts indicated a marked selectivity for over-aged deer. 
The exception to this was in the Parry Sound District where 34.4 percent of 
wolf kills were fawns. 

He anticipated that a figure will be available soon Cor the 
actual amount (in pounds) of deer consumed by wolves. George stressed that 
several important questions need to be answered - does wolf harassment affect 
deer by chasing them from their yards? Does predation result in certain yards 
ceasing to exist? 

Is predator control justified in deer range management? This 
touchy question was answered quite satisfactorily by Dr. Cumming when he 
suggested that if wolves were a factor preventing a deer population from 
rebounding following yard treatment, then we have all the justification in 
the world to carry out wolf control. 

Bob Trotter (Lake Siracoe) was of the opinion that predator 
control should be carried out in areas where deer range improvement work has 
been done and wolves have moved in to kill deer. There is no point in concen- 
trating deer by supplying immediate food and then letting the wolves kill them. 

John Shannon (Fur Management) suggested that if range carrying 
capacity has exceeded the deer supply then predator control might be justified. 
We should go into an area before freeze-up and remove all wolves. We have to 
know when and where predator control fits into deer management so that 
adequate programs can be set up. 

George Kolenosky (Research Branch ) brought up an important 
point: if hunters aren't capitalizing on the additional deer created by deer 
range improvement, then we should ask ourselves whether we should go on with 
further treatment in that area. Is predator control beneficial for one year? 
We know that if one wolf pack is eliminated from an area the pack is replaced 
by another the following year. Unless we control an area for a number of years 
we might not see the desired end result of the DRM program. 

Robin Hepburn (Research Branch) handed out copies of his recent 
publication "Experimental Management of Mixed Conifer Swamps for Deer and 
Timber in Eastern Ontario." A summary of his paper now follows: 

In 1957, a co-operative project was undertaken to study 
methods of cutting merchantable conifer swamps in northern Frontenac County 
for optimum regeneration of white spruce and white cedar, the spruce to 
supply a future timber crop and cedar to provide both winter food and shelter 
for white-tailed deer. 

After preliminary timber inventories and browse surveys, cutting 
plans were drawn up for 15 swamps totalling 318 acres. These were cut during 
the winters 1958 to 1963. Five swamps were chosen for quantitative study. 

Post-cut regeneration and browse surveys were conducted in 
1961, 1966 and 1967. Response of deer to various cutting treatments was 
examined during the winters of 1963, 1964 and 1967 by tolling their tracks, 
trails and beds along standard transects in the experimental swamp and adjacent 
uplands . 

At this early stage in post-cut development, results indicate 
that although stocking of important tree species is adequate on almost all 
treated areas, patch-cut and strip-cut blocks have a somewhat better species 
composition in the regeneration and shrub stories than do others. 

The response of deer has been decidedly in favour of patch-cut 
swamps over clear-cut and thinned stands, because of advantageous distribution 
of residual canopy (hence shallow snow) around the cut patches combined with 
enhanced food supplies within the patches. 

Management recommendations are still tentative but stress the 
value of patch cuts to other systems provided the acreage and pattern of cut 
will allow sufficient cedar to escape current browsing pressure to form a new 
stand. Removal or reduction of slash after the cut is desirable. 

The day's session was closed with a message from Frank Walden , 
Wildlife Section (Toronto). Mr. Walden mentioned that the DRI program has 
raised criticisms from within and outside the Department. We are faced with a 
problem of creating new problems at a faster rate than old problems are being 
solved. A number of other points were brought up by Mr. Walden: 

- The need for closer co-operation between Timber and Fish and Wildlife 
Branch . 

- The necessity of demonstrating the benefits versus the cost of our 
programs . 

- The need to find sound methods to estimate deer populations. 

- He criticized field staff for their wrong attitude towards certain things 
and that they were too easily influenced by outsiders. 

- We need to communicate more effectively to the ever critical public concern- 
ing our deer management program. 

Concerning the predation controversy, Mr. Walden asked these 
questions: Does wolf predation really affect the deer population? Do wolves 
play a useful role? Can we afford to get rid of wolves, that is, will the 
benefits be worth the cost? 

He expressed the opinion that we spend too much time speculating 
rather than interpreting. Our goals are not precisely defined. We want more 
deer, but we lack confidence in our ability to solve the problem. In ending 
he stressed that we must face the public on a more realistic basis. 

Before the meeting broke up, Dr. Cumming showed a 15 minute 
movie that he filmed of various DRI projects throughout the province. 

Thursday,. June 26 

What was planned as a one hour seminar on methods of capturing 
deer turned into a full morning session. This session was held to facilitate 
an interchange of techniques used by field staff to capture deer. 

The first technique discussed was the Method of Automatically 
Tagging Deer With Self -Attaching Collars. Evaluation of the technique from 
Ron Campbell (North Bay), Ed Mantle (Sault Ste. Marie), Lionel Trodd 
(Pembroke), John Mac fie (Parry Sound) and Dan Mans ell (Lake Huron) stressed 
that this method was unsatisfactory. It is difficult to get the snare properly 
adjusted so that deer will be properly tagged, and there is no way to know 
that if the snare is gone it is on a deer. Returns of successfully tagged 
deer have been scanty to none. 

Robin Hepburn (Research Branch) suggested that those interested 
should contact Henry Laramie of the New Hampshire Conservation Department for 
information on a deer collar with an expansion core. This is a more complicated 
method, but it has proven quite successful. 

Live Trapping 

Austin Henderson (Lindsay) gave a short illustrated talk on his 
successful deer tagging and trapping program. By using a modified Clover 
trap, 173 deer were captured in 559.5 trap days over the period 1959-1963. 
Of the 53 deer tagged, 15 percent were recovered. 

Guy Winterton (Parry Sound) had poor success with the trap 
method. He failed to capture any deer during 468 trap nights. It was his 
opinion that the traps are too easily seen by deer and are too cumbersome to 
be effective. 

Jack Stewart (Lake Huron) described the successful trapping of 
15 deer in the southern region of the district and their subsequent release in 
the Bruce Peninsula. To date, 12 sightings and 2 recoveries of these tagged 
deer have been made. Movements of up to 8 miles in the direction of major 
yarding areas have been seen. 

Dan Mansell (Lake Huron) suggested that there be an arrangement 
for the exchange of trapping equipment from district to district in the 
event that changing conditions of deer yards warrant one trapping method 
superior to another. 

Dart Gun Capture Method 

Guy Winterton (Parry Sound) explained their trials with this 
technique and the disappointing results. Ideal conditions are required in 
order to shoot a dart into a deer at short range. Such conditions were 
rarely obtained. 

Lionel Trodd (Pembroke) displayed the equipment he was 
using to capture deer with drugs. He described the merits and the disadvant- 
ages of each type of dart gun. He emphasized that to be successful, one must 
have ideal conditions (short range and a clear unobstructed view), the deer 
must be hit in the proper area, the deer must be handled so as not to upset 
them, and one must be aware that deer react in various ways to the drug 
depending on size, sex, and season, etc. 

These deer are being tagged, but the tags are only being seen 
for one season. They must be falling off. 


Foot Traps 

Lionel Trodd (Pembroke) mentioned the use of foot traps to 
automatically attach rubber tubing (as tags) to the feet of deer. They have 
had fair success with this technique. 

Netting Deer 

Dr . dimming presented a paper on methods of capturing deer. 
While doing his PhD in Scotland, he used nets to capture roe deer. He had 
suggested that this might be a valuable method to capture white-tailed deer. 
During three winters with assistance from Lake Huron, Parry Sound and 
Pembroke staffs, he tested the nets and last winter was finally successful in 
catching deer. A problem that arises, however, is how to handle deer after 
they are caught. 

Telemetric Methods 

Guy Winter ton (Parry Sound) explained that radio- transmitters 
had been placed upon two deer last winter. No signal had been received from 
either, however. He emphasized the need for transmitters with a directional 
antenna. The Parry Sound District will continue to use traps but feel that 
whale nets have the best possibility for capturing larger numbers of deer for 
tagging and radio telemetry. 

Before the meeting closed, Ron Campbell (North Bay) invited all 
delegates to visit the Mattawa deer yard to see the treatment they had done. 

A few of us took the opportunity to visit this deer yard. 
Treatment in 1967-68 included the cutting of red maple, hard maple, aspen and 
dogwood. Potential commercial sized trees and hazel were left uncut. Treat- 
ment was light so it would not be noticed from the nearby river. 

A browse survey by Alex Matiece earlier in 1969 estimated a 
production of 100,000 stems per acre following treatment. Hazel stems made 
up nearly half of the figure. If hazel is eliminated from the figure, it 
appears that production is low for this treatment as compared to other areas 
which were clear cut. 




Wildlife Management Officer 

Marking deer has been tried on several occasions in the North 
Bay District. Three people were involved in these attempts, M.C. Miller, 
Conservation Officer at Haddo, Gordon Black, Conservation Officer at Mattawa, 
and the writer when he was stationed at Mattawa. 


The method that was tried was that of automatic or self-tagging 
devices. I believe that everyone here is familiar with these devices so I will 
not dwell on their construction. Primarily they consist of a snare with a 
break-away nylon rope collar. A complete description of this device may be found 
in The Journal of Wildlife Management, Volume 26, No. 4, 1962, "An Automatic 
Tagging Device for Deer," by Louis J. Verme. 


In general, we have had rather limited success in our attempts 
to tag deer. During the winter of 1964-65 Miller was issued with eight collars. 
He successfully tagged three animals. Two other collars were broken away by 
deer. The same winter working with fifteen collars I was successful in tagging 
only one animal. Approximately eight other collars were broken away by deer, 
but they failed to attach properly for various reasons. During the winter of 
1966 Black spent more time on this work. He was successful in tagging seven 
animals. Seven other collars were broken away but they failed to work properly. 
They either broke prematurely or failed to break at the right point. Black found 
that the slide ring tended to bind when it came to the point that the wire was 
soldered to the snap. He found that smoothing of the soldered joint and retaping 
it, and then applying a coat of vaseline on the tape, reduced binding of the 
ring. As the winter went on he gained experience and started having more success, 

A total of eleven animals were tagged in this district during 
the two winters. Only one tag was recovered. It was attached to a deer in 
Bertram Township in March 13, 1965. Subsequently, it was recovered from a 2-1/2 
year old buck in Latchford Township in November, 1965, about nine miles from the 
point of tagging. The tag was turned in at Hespeler. The following is a quote 
from a letter sent to us from Hespeler regarding this animal "The 23" collar 
that was removed from the deer had penetrated the skin at the base and top of 
the neck." Apparently pictures were taken showing the effects of the tag but 
we did not receive them. 


I believe that it is possible to tag a good number of animals 
with self tagging devices. The setting of these devices and proper amount of 
filing of the wire are most important for successful tagging. Therefore, it is 
essential that the person who is setting the collar be as experienced as possible, 
The collar should be at least partly camouflaged as we have had animals back away 
from sets. The most critical factor is to get the proper amount of filing in the 
right location so that the wire will break after the slide ring has snapped 
into place and not before. The joints where the wire is connected to the snap 
should be examined for any bumps and smoothed if necessary. Then the connection 


should be retaped. A coating of vaseline on the tape will reduce binding and 
assist the slide ring to snap into place. 

I would recommend that the length requirements of the collars be 
given more study. The collars that were issued in our district were 18" long 
and 22" long. The results of our one return indicates that this is not long 
enough as the collar apparently had stretched to 23" and was still cutting into 
the neck of the animal. 




Ed Mantle 
Wildlife Management Officer 
Sault Ste. Marie 

This will advise that during our deer tagging experiment at Lonely 
Lake and Poplar Dale deer yards the following difficulties were encountered - 

(1) We found that the deer shied away in some cases from the yellow collars 
and as a result white polyurethene was used. 

(2) We found that in many cases the wire was notched too deep and before 
the snap closed on the ring the wire broke away and the collar was found 
approximately 25' away from the site on the trail. 

(3) In one instance the notch in the wire was not deep enough and a deer 
had to be released in the morning. 

(4) In two instances the wire was pulled free from the tree and the deer 
took both the collar and the wire. 

(5) One dead deer was found approximately three days after being tagged - 
the cause of death was undetermined, the collar was loose enough that 
it was pulled over the head with very little difficulty. 

(6) The size of the collar could possibly cause difficulty to adult males 
during the rutting season. 

(7) To our knowledge no deer collars were returned by Hunters and no collars 
were observed on deer the following winter deer-yarding period. 




Conservation Officer 


White-tailed deer were live-trapped, ear-tagged and released in 
the Peterborough Crown Game Preserve, Burleigh and Methuen Townships, Peterborough 
County. The operation was carried out in the middle and late winter months of 
1959 inclusive by the author with occasional assistance from other Department 

Primary objectives were to develop a successful live trapping 
technique and to gather information on the influx and egress and trapping mobility, 

Trapping was done on the west side of the Preserve in South 
Burleigh township because there was a heavy winter concentration of deer and 
at that time logging operations provided ready acess and trapping mobility. 


The type of trap used was a modified version of the "Clover deer 
trap" (designed by Melvin R. Clover, Game Management Branch, California Depart- 
ment of Fish and Game - report published February 1954). Basically it was a 
steel pipe framework 'box' eight feet long by four feet high by four feet wide. 
The frame was collapsable for mobility and when folded flat, measured 12 feet 
by four feet. 

For the first two winters the frames were covered with heavy 
four and one-half inch cotton mesh netting. As deer were seen breaking through 
this netting (in 1959 eleven deer escaped in this manner) the sides and entrance 
were covered with one and one-half inch link wire mesh ("chain link" fencing 
material) which being collapsable was ideal for the entrance. 

On one end of the trap a single section of the wire netting was 
attached to two extra upright pipes with large metal rings allowing it to be 
folded up. The lower edge was weighted to allow rapid and complete closure of 
the entrance. 

The trigger and release mechanism for this "gate" consisted of 
a trip line just above ground level inside the trap (see Figure I) this line was 
attached to an ordinary rat trap which when sprung released a retaining wire on 
the folded up gate causing it to fall shut. 


The cost of such a trap at that time was estimated at forty 

Traps were placed on top of the snow and allowed to settle and 
freeze in. They were located in clearings in recent cut-over areas. It was 


Tubular Steel Frame 

Screw Eyes 



Rat Trap 






FIGURE I: Modified "Clover" Deer Trap Used in the Lindsay District 
Tagging Project 1959 - 63 


found that although the original clover trap was designed with an entrance at 
both ends to facilitate use on deer runways the single entrance version used in 
this project worked just as well. Deer were apparently drawn into the traps 
solely by the bait. 

A mixture of apples, peanuts and rolled oats in corn syrup 
proved ineffective as bait. Ensilage also failed mainly because it tended to 
freeze rapidly. Freshly cut white cedar branches proved to be most satisfactory. 

Care was taken to ensure that there were no projecting pieces 
of wire inside the traps on which deer might have injured themselves. 

Traps were checked twice a day at first but it soon appeared 
best to check only once, preferably around eight o'clock in the morning. A piece 
of cotton netting was of some use in removing deer from the traps. 

A standard metal cattle tag was applied with special pliers 
to the left ear of captured deer. It appeared that this method of trapping and 
tagging was a two-man operation, though on occasion the author was able to cope 


A total of 113 deer were trapped in 559.5 trap-days over the 
five-year period (See table 1). This figure included 19 deer that escaped by 
breaking through the cotton netting used in 1959 and 1960. It also included four 
deer that had to be released because no tags were available and 37 instances of 
tagged deer being recaptured. One tagged deer returned to the same trap several 
times. A total of 53 deer were tagged. The greatest number of traps used was 
nine. The average number of trap-days per deer captured was 4.95. 

In 1961 nine traps were set for 87 trap-days but no deer 
were taken. Average snow depth for the trapping period that year was only 5 
inches. The average for all five years was 22.6 inches. 

In 1963 the snow depth was 22.9 inches and in six consecutive 
days 23 individual deer were trapped using eight traps. On several occasions 
two deer were caught simultaneously in the same trap. 

Thus it appeared that trapping success was greatest when 
snow depths were 20 or more inches. It also seemed better when logging operations 
in the trap area had ceased in early winter. This meant that by the time trapping 
began most of the available browse resulting from cutting had disappeared thus 
increasing the appeal of bait in the traps. Depending on snow and browse condi- 
tions the latter part of February and the months of March appeared to be the best 
time for trapping. 

Of 47 tagged deer that were sexed, 24 were males and 23 
females. Of the 35 deer aged, 20 were fawns and 15 were adults. 

So far the recovery of eight tags has been reported (see 
Table 2). Although a recovery rate of 15.09 per cent may seem quite good, it is 
felt that better publicity during and after the project might have yielded more 
tags. None of the 20 tags used in 1962 have been turned in. Possibly some 
hunters shooting a tagged deer and not knowing about the tags may have been 
nervous about reporting it. Even at this late date some publicity might be worth- 

Out of eight recoveries six of the deer were shot legally 
outside the preserve, three of them being killed roughly 8 miles in a straight 
line from where they were tagged. It was reported that a tagged deer was shot 


near Eels Lake, some twenty miles from the tagging location but no official 
record can be found. Two other tagged deer were shot by poachers presumably in 
the preserve and the tags turned in anonymously. The time between tagging and 
recovery varied from' one to four years approximately. 



1959-63 INCLUSIVE 





1963 TOTALS 

Trapping Period 

Mar. 1 - Jan. 19 - Mar. 1 - Feb. 23 - Feb. 27 
Apr. 5 Mar. 30 Mar. 11 Mar. 16 Mar. 6 

No. of deer 



No. of deer 



No. of deer 



No. of deer 
released untagged 



No. of tagged 
deer recaptured 



No. of traps 



No. of 
trap -days 



No. of trap -days 
per deer captured 



Average snow 



Crust Conditions 


A to C 




















41.5 559.5 


20" 22.9" 22.6" 
A to B B 










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(D 00 
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£0 O 
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B a 


















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ftt O 
00 to 











ft) o 

to rt 
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pa 33 



The method of trapping and tagging described above has two main 
advantages : 

(1) The equipment can be made highly mobile. 

(2) The outlay of money and manpower involved is relatively low. 

These factors and the results achieved in the project would seem 
to indicate that this technique is ideal for carrying out migration studies in 
heavily populated winter yarding areas. Such studies can be an important part 
of any full-scale deer management programme. 


In view of the present and future need for total deer management 
in the Lindsay District, it is imperative that movements of deer to and from 
large wintering areas such as the Peterborough Crown Game Preserve be resumed and 
extended. It should be made clear that this technique cannot be used to directly 
assess the value of game sanctuaries. When the project described was begun 
some hopes were expressed that the value of the Peterborough Crown Game Preserve 
might be assessed. The method used will show the value of the area as a deer 
yard rather than as a sanctuary. 

It is hoped that this method can be used as the basis for long-term 
migration studies to be carried out as part of the annual Deer Management Project 
in this District. 


CLOVER, M.E. - 1954 - "A Portable Deer Trap and Catch Net',' California, Fish and 

Game, Vol. 40, No. 4. 






Parry Sound District continued their deer 
trapping program during winter 1963-69. Six 
modified Stephenson live traps were used through- 
out the winter. Tranquilizing deer with Cap-Chur 
guns and netting deer by means of a "gill" nets 
was attempted. 

The traps did not capture any deer, nor were 
any deer tranquilized. However, two deer were cap- 
tured by netting. Both tags and radio transmitters 
were placed on the animals. 

The three methods of capture are evaluated with 
regards to cost, feasibility, production and welfare 
of the animals. Recommendations and plans for future 
work are presented. 


During the winter of 1967-68 Parry Sound District began a deer 
trapping program in Killbear Park (Car ling Deer Yard #2) in order to tag deer 
so that movements and distribution could be studied. The program was late in 
starting and as a result only one deer (buck fawn) was tagged. This deer was 
captured seven times thus putting the one trap in use out of commission on 
these occassions. By the time this animal was removed from the vicinity, the 
majority of the deer had already left the yard as spring approached. 

This program was continued and expanded in the winter of 1968-69 
by using more traps and two other methods of capturing deer. 


The main aim of the program was to capture and mark as many deer 
as possible to assess seasonal movements, and to attach radio transmitters to 
some animals in order to follow daily movements. 

The district was interested in discovering exactly when deer 
entered the yard, when they left the yard, and whether there was any migration 
to and from the yard during the winter period. Attempts would be made to 
correlate movements with snow depth and crust conditions. 

Also of primary interest was the summer distribution of the deer 
from this yard, and whether the same deer returned to the same yard every winter 
or not. Basically it was important to see if an area could be delineated as 
being serviced by this particular yard. 



The study area, as previously mentioned; was the Carling Deer 
Yard #2 principally in Killbear Park. It is located on a narrow peninsula 
jutting out into the Georgian Bay approximately 10 miles north of Parry Sound. 
The yard area, which varies with the severity of the winter, is approximately 
2,000 acres. 

The tree species of significance have been discussed in a report 
dealing with deer range improvement (Macfie, 1967). Briefly, the shelter, which 
is principally hemlock, is located in a number of areas throughout the yard. 
The rest of the yard is comprised principally of mixed low grade hardwoods with 
maples predominating. The primary food species is red maple. (See Fig. 1). 

This yard was chosen for the following reasons :- 

(1) The yard is close to district office (20 miles). 

(2) The area is easily accessible since it is well serviced with roads. 

(3) There are usually a considerable number of deer in the yard. 

(4) There was a work crew in the park whose assistance could be obtained 
when necessary. 



The principal trapping used was that of the modified Stephenson 
live traps. These consist of a large box trap (4' x 4' x 10') constructed of 
2" x 6" timbers and 3/8" plywood, with a door at each end. (Fig. II). The doors 
are tripped by means of a No. 1 leghold trap. 

As white cedar is considered quite a delicacy by the deer in 
Parry Sound District, the trap was baited with fresh branches of this species 
and also with apples at various times. Fresh greens (cabbage, carrot tops, 
lettuce, etc.) were also tried as bait on occasions. The deer were attracted 
to the traps by scattering some bait in their vicinity. 

There were six traps in operation throughout the period from 
January 13th until the end of March. These traps were placed alongside major 
runways crossing the roads throughout the yard and were baited for one week 
prior to being set on the thirteenth. 

The traps were checked daily throughout the week by the foreman 
of the crew in the park, and were checked on weekends by staff from district 

Periodically the traps were freshly baited and checked to see 
that the doors were functioning properly. 

These traps came from the Cyanamid project in LakeErie District 
and would cost approximately $200.00 each to duplicate, including time and 


On February 17th, Mr. T. W. Townsend, Ph.D. student at the 
University of Guelph arrived in Parry Sound with two 32 gauge Cap-Chur guns 
complete with darts and charges. The drug used was Anectine (Succinylcholine 
chloride) at a dose of .0014 cc/lb. For two days we attempted to take deer 
by driving through the yard area in both the university vehicle and Department 



Top View 

Trip Wire 
Tied to Bait 

Ropes Holding Doors 

Side View 


End View 


Leghold Trap 

FIGURE II: Modified Stephenson Deer Trap 


vehicles. The deer in this yard are accustomed to vehicles travelling throughout 
the yard area and so attempts were made to shoot animals from the window. 

One gun was loaded with an average doe load and the other with 
an average buck load. Each man carried both low powered propellant charges 
and high powered propellant charges. When a deer was sighted in suitable range 
the gun was loaded and the shot taken, attempting to hit the animal in the 
upper part of the leg or rump with the dart. 


On the morning of March 20th, two gangs of white nylon "gill" 
net (12" mesh) approximately six feet deep were hung throughout one of the 
shelter areas in the yard by Dr. H. Cumming assisted by some of his staff and 
Parry Sound staff. A drive was made later on in the afternoon. The net was 
left set overnight and another drive was made early the following morning. 
This was the extent of netting in the district as the deer had already started 
to leave the yard by this time. 


Two types of tags were used, both made by the Ketchum Mfg. 
Sales Ltd. A coloured, numbered, metal ear tag, of the type used in tagging 
cattle, was placed in one ear of the animal and a large orange rubbery tag 
correspondingly numbered was placed in the other ear. These tags are the same 
type used by Lake Huron District and were obtained from them. 

The radio transmitters were basically the same as the ones 
developed by D. H. Johnston and used by G. Kolenosky in his wolf research program, 
(Kolenosky and Johnston, 1967). They were modified slightly to streamline 
them and make them lighter. The resistance was modified to give a suitable 
beat frequency when the collar was the proper size to fit a deer's neck. An 
experiment was tried using 1/16" Darvic (plastic-like material that can be 
shaped when heated) about 2-1/2" wide, as the collar with a .003" layer of brass 
shim stock as the radiating antenna. This eliminated the need for padding the 
collar with foam rubber and made a lighter more flexible collar for the radio 
transmitter . 


The results were somehwat less than overwhelming. 

In 468 trap nights there were no deer captured for a number 
of reasons which will be discussed later. 

In two days with the Cap-Chur guns, only three shots were fired 
and no deer were captured. There are also reasons for this as well. 

There were, however, two deer (bucks) captured in two days of 
netting. Both animals were subdued by chloroform and tagged by Dr. Cumming. One 
animal received a radio transmitter as well. 

In addition to these animals there was one female deer that was 
pulled from the Gibson River (40 miles south of Parry Sound) by some fishermen 
and brought to Parry Sound. She was kept overnight, dried out and released 
the following day in Killbear after being tagged and having a radio transmitter 
placed around her neck. 

None of the tags have been recovered, and the animals with radio 
transmitters were not heard from again in spite of repeated efforts using Cadre 


portable radios throughout the yard and vehicle radios on the roads in the 
vicinity in attempts to pick up the signal. Although the aircraft has not been 
used in a systematic search , the pilot has switched to the radio collar frequency 
a number of times while in the vicinity of release. 


Before discussing the merits of the different methods used, it is 
important to note that there was a considerable number of deer in the yard 
throughout the winter. It was not uncommon to see twenty or thirty deer in 
half an hour while checking the traps. On one occasion a Park's Branch employee 
counted 52 deer from his vehicle. Our crotising counts indicate that there 
were approximately 150 deer in the yard. As previously mentioned these deer 
became quite used to vehicles travelling throughout the park and could be 
approached closely by vehicle. They were, however, difficult to approach on foot. 


There were, as mentioned previously numerous reasons why no deer 
were caught in these traps. To begin with they probably look too much like what 
they are - a trap, to the deer, a strange object that would appear as a dark 
closed tunnel that is fairly noisy underfoot and probably has a hint of man smell 
about it. Under some conditions this would not bother the deer, however, in the 
Killbear yard there has been an over treatment for browse production, so conse- 
quently the deer are in fine physical shape to begin with and not easily enticed 
by food. We also discovered later in the season that the work crew was cutting 
cedar poles in one of the shelter areas, and so cedar was perhaps not as much of 
a delicacy as we had anticipated. The deer however would come around the trap 
and eat the scattered bait and occasionally would venture part way in the trap 
to reach the bait, but only on two occasions did they actually go right in the 

The deer appeared to be very interested in the apples but once 
again they would not enter all the way into the trap. The fresh greens did not 
appear to be touched at all by the deer. 

On the two occasions that deer did enter the traps there was 
mechanical failure. In one instance, one of the doors was frozen open during a 
period of warm sunny days which melted the snow and cold nights which froze 
the melting snow that was in the tracks for the doors. In the other instance 
the steel trap for tripping the doors had become too weak to function. 

Towards the end of the project the traps were continually tripped 
by a raccoon which promptly chewed its way out of the trap. This animal was thus 
capable of putting some of the traps out of commission each evening. 

To summarize, it would seem that the traps are fairly efficient in 
other areas under certain conditions (as in the Cyanamid project where the deer 
were fenced in, relatively tame, and quite used to being fed.) However from our 
experiences this past winter, we feel that the animals in the wild would have to 
have a considerable shortage of food before any number of them could be captured 
by this method, then, perhaps, they would be of little value considering their 
physical condition. In view of the current deer range improvement program produc- 
ing more good quality browse it appears that this technique will become of less 
value. The traps are large and cumbersome and must be checked frequently which 
necessitates being relatively close to a headquarters. In most cases this is 
where DRI work has been carried out most intensively and the deer are in the 
best condition. The cost to build and operate traps under these conditions would 
be difficult to justify when one considers the results. 



Inexperience was one of the major factors that caused such poor 
results using the Cap-Chur guns. The author was completely inexperienced and 
although Mr. Townsend had tranquilized hundreds of captive animals, he had never 
tried the technique in the field. 

The first dart fired had a low power charge and thus fell short of 
its target. A higher power charge was used for the second shot at closer range. 
Remembering the previous shot's trajectory, the shooter held a little high and 
the second dart went over the deer's back. On the third shot the dart was 
deflected by a tree. 

There are a number of drawbacks to this technique. One of these 
turned out to be the vehicle in which we were riding. The deer were used to the 
noise of a dump truck going through the park and they scarcely shied from it at 
all. On the first day we used the University vehicle (much smaller and quieter) 
and the deer were quite wary. The second day we rode in the dump truck, 

Although quite a number of deer were sighted in the two days (over 
100) it was seldom that a good shot presented itself. In fact, everything must 
be perfect. The animal must be in the proper range for the power charge used, 
it must be of the proper sex for the load used, the animal must be standing, 
preferably broadside and there must be no bush between the shooter and the animal. 
A poor shot could cause the dart to break bones, sever major blood vessels or in 
some cases penetrate the animal almost surely causing death. 

Even when a good shot is made the animal may not be found in time 
if tracking conditions are poor. Also to be considered is that the proper dose of 
drug does not always affect different animals equally. In some cases the drug 
may have no apparent affect on the animal at all and in other cases it may 
cause its death very quickly if not found in time. 

This technique is relatively time consuming and has a number of 
major drawbacks. It may however be fairly effective if used with all due pre- 
cautions under the proper conditions. 


The use of nets to catch deer is the technique which promised 
the least and produced the most. It was felt that most of the deer had left title 
yard by the time Dr. Cumming brought the nets to the district and that the chances 
of catching deer would be extremely poor. 

To our surprise, two deer were captured in the afternoon drive. 
The second drive (the following morning) produced no deer. It was felt that 
the drive had been much too long allowing the deer to go around the drivers and 
that possibly some deer avoided the net purposely. This was not substantiated 
due to the profusion of tracks in the area. 

In future it would probably be most feasible to limit the drives 
to about 200 yards maximum (taking the length of the net into consideration) and 
that the net should either be moved fairly frequently or that the deer should not 
be driven too often. 

Because of the possible side effects of the use of chloroform, 
particularly pneumonia, it would be preferable to just cover the animal's head 
with burlap or some such material. 

Although this method received only limited use in Parry Sound 
District it would appear to be most feasible when one considers the cost of the 


materials ($0.90 per yard), the amount of time consumed, the welfare of the deer, 
and the results obtained. 


Parry Sound District has tried these three methods of capturing 
deer and evaluated them. In the future the traps will continue to be operated 
because the district already has them and the cost to maintain them is low as 
they can be checked by parks staff in the area. For the reasons discussed 
tranquilizing deer will not likely be attempted, particularly in view of the 
low cost and productivity of the technique of netting. It is hoped that much 
more netting can be carried out next winter. 

It is recommended that research into producing a suitable radio 
transmitter for use on deer should be carried out. It is difficult to catch 
and tag enough deer so that the number of returns received will be of some value. 
As there is only a two week hunting season throughout most of the deer range 
(less in some cases), it will be difficult to actually assess seasonal movements 
of deer without the use of a transmitting device. In some cases, depending on 
weather conditions the deer may be back in the yard by hunting season, or may 
be on their way. It would not be known whether such return* represented the 
summer dispersal or not. 


I wish to extend my thanks to all those who took part in the 
program this winter. It is impossible to personally acknowledge all those in- 
volved but there are three people who gave a considerable amount of time and 
expressed much interest in the project. These are: Mr. R. W. Swainson - radio 
technician, Parry Sound; Mr. J. Wager - foreman, Killbear Park, Mr. T. W. 
Townsend - Grad. student, University of Guelph. 

This paper was reviewed by Mr. C. Douglas, Fish and Wildlife 
Supervisor, Parry Sound. 


Kolenosky, G.B, and Johnston, D.H., 1967 - Radio- tracking timber wolves in Ortario, 

Reprint from American Zoologist, 

Macfie, J. A., 1967 - Replenishing the larder in the Killbear Deer Yard. Ont. 

Fish & Wildlife Review, Vol. 6; No. 3-4. 




Senior Conservation Officer 


The reasons for deer tagging will be apparent to all in attendance. 
These vary little from district to district. We need not dwell on this area, 
but instead we shall review our methods, equipment and success. 

The first method attempted was snare- style collars of woven 
nylon and assorted gauge wires. These had to be set on the runways during 
winter months. In the Pembroke district in 1964, two deer were tagged by this 
method, and in 1965, eleven more. From the thirteen tagged, one recovery was 
made and as luck would have it, the animal was shot within a few feet of where 
the snare had been set to put the collar on the deer. 

Many problems plagued this method: getting the collar properly in 
a place where a deer could possibly put his head into it, the snap mechanism, 
the wire which held the collar in place and finally the variety of neck measure- 
ments. (Figures from Arnprior Checking Station show neck sizes from 11.0 to 24.9) 

In summation, this method is practical if other materials could be 
applied to remove nuisance problems. 

The second method used was the rubber collar. (Winter 1966-67). 
The collar was made of Simatco rubber tubing with a new catch mechanism. The 
trial models had a circumference of 19.5 inches. The material attaching the 
collar to the runway was made of monofilament line. This added to ease in 
camouflaging the unit. 

Time did not permit complete assessment of this design but we did 
find a 10 inch square allows free passage of a deer's head and insures tightening 
on the smaller portions of the animals neck. Although no animals were tagged, 
this method shows promise of working and would be economical if one could direct 
intensive efforts to tagging alone. 

The third method attempted was that of guns, darts, and drugs. 
We have been assisted in this area of tagging by Dr. T. L. Cashman of Pembroke. 

The guns used thus far have been the CO? powered weapon, the 
.32 gauge shotgun with powder loaded shells, and the .32 gauge shotgun with multi- 
powered blank .22 shells. 

The CO2 gun is good for very close range and temperatures above 
60°F. Below this many problems have been encountered, all relating to accuracy 
and distance that the dart is propelled. For roadside close range, "from 
vehicle shooting", this is a good weapon. 

The .32 gauge shotgun with the powder charge was found to be 
very accurate and although we had only one range of shell to use, with some 
effort and much time, other loads could be obtained. In the early stages of 
using this weapon, one female deer was shot at and hit just forward of the hind 


quarter and the animal died from internal bleeding. It was found that animals 
should not be shot unless they are beyond a range of 25 yards up to a maximum 
of 70 yards (with luck) . No problems were encountered with this weapon other 
than a shortage of shells and of time that we were able to borrow it. 

The .32 gauge shotgun with the .22 adaptor gives the user multi 
range choices: Low - green powder charge, 15 to 30 yards; Medium - yellow 25 
- 60 yards; High - red-purple, 60-80 yards plus. With these choices also arise 
problems i.e. confusion as to distance animal is standing, size of dart to be 
hurled and the colour of powder charge in adaptor prior to firing. 

The accuracy of this weapon is largely dependent on the user, 
the more practice one has the better one gets. 

Once again time has not permitted us to use this weapon to a 
large degree although it would appear to have a good potential. 


Assorted sizes are available and we feel a 3 cc to 5 cc dart 
is best suited to the job. 

The parts of the dart tail-feather, powder load, rubber stopper, 
cylinder and tip must be well cared for, otherwise time spent in stalking, 
shooting and hitting will be wasted with a dart malfunction. Until this spring 
no problem had been encountered with dart functioning but recently several 
cartridges that sat inside the dart have failed. We attribute this to carrying 
shells in an air tight first aid kit, which held in moisture thus making the 
powder damp, causing misfire. 

The needle used is 1-1/8 inch long, no barb, but does have a small 
collar near the tip of the barb. These darts work rapidly enough that there 
is no need for a barb to keep this dart hanging on the deer. There is also the 
danger of the animal laying on a hanging dart and inflicting unnecessary injury. 

The big drawback with the dart is the amount of time spent 
recovering them. They bury deeply in snow, burrow under leaf cover, and bounce 
in bushy or rocky areas. By far, more time is spent looking for the darts 
than is spent looking for deer. 


The drug used in the dart is sue cinycho line chloride (anectine) 
a muscle immobilizer which leaves the animal unable to control its voluntary 
muscles. A dose of 1 cc has proven effective in all instances of animals hit 
except one. The area of the body where the animal is struck appears to govern 
immobilization time. Generally a ham hit is best. Immobilization takes 3-1/2 
to 6 minutes with an average of 4 minutes and lasts 25 to 45 minutes. 

Drugs should be kept cool but have not failed to work when at 
a temperature of 70°F. Drugs that have been loaded into darts and not fired are 
disposed of. An antidote (prostigmin) is carried at all times in 1 cc vials. 


The reaction of the deer to the tagging procedure varies greatly. 
Size and physical shape of the animal plays a big role in the success or failure. 
Animals tagged in summer and early fall did not show the same degree of distress 
as some tagged in mid to late winter. 

Several pregnant does have been drugged and showed no ill effects. 


We are advised by authority that the drug will not penetrate the placental 
barrier. Two milking does have been drugged and they also showed no ill effect 
and returned to care for their young. The fawns in these instances were not 
tagged since the possibilities of overdose, and the mother's refusal to reaccept 
the fawn after handling were uncertain. 

Reaction to being struck by darts differs immensely. Some animals 
stand, others run until they are forced to lie down under the influence of the 
drug. The less the downed animals are handled the better, remembering that they 
are not unconscious, only immobile and anxiety is at a peak. (Cases are on 
record of humans being given this drug in error and the reaction to the in- 
ability to move while conscious has caused mortality from shock and stress, 
with no connection to the drug affecting vital organs). 

After the animal is in a comfortable and normal lying position 
do your tagging. Wounds are sprayed with disinfectant and bleeding is negligible, 
In warm weather fly dope is applied to the hair in the area at the wound. Re- 
covery may be easily watched from a point out of view of the deer, leaving it 
in peace and quiet. 


Metal ear tags are fastened, which hold a numbered coloured ribbon 
6" x 1" in place. These make the animal visible without having to kill it to 
obtain a metal tag number. At the same time, rubber collars are being put on 
to gain information on this style of tagging. 

Several sightings of deer with ribbons on their ears have been 

made. These ribbons have been noted at a distance of 1/2 mile in open areas. 

These reports have not continued beyond one season. Though we have little proof 
it is felt that they must have fallen off. 

Most bucks when in velvet, become hostile to any part of the 
procedure once the drug starts to take effect. 

Animals must be located prior to total absorbtion of the drug 
or they are unable to make a noise or move and the spot where they fall may 
be dangerous i.e. sharp sticks, water, position of animal, etc. 


A fourth method, we call the Foot Trap Method, has been attempted. 
This method once again uses the rubber tubing, only this time we try to attach 
the rubber to the animal's foot. In principal, the deer steps on the "pan" 
of the trap. This triggers the release of the band, thereby attaching it to 
the foot. 

We are still in the planning stage of this method, in fact this 
may be said of all methods, however we did make two or three sets of this style 
last winter. The deer did step on the trap set in the runway but for reasons 
which we are not yet sure, the rubber band is still in our possession. 

In conclusion, may I say for Mr. Wilton and myself, that the 
biggest problem confronting tagging efforts in Pembroke is the lack of time to 
perfect methods and actually do the tagging. All other components such as 
deer, equipment, and methods are ample. 


Put on a deer at Spoor Lake, Lot 5, Concession 6, Stratton Town - 


ship south-west of the lake. This lake is situated inside Algonquin Park 1-1/2 
miles from the East Border and 1-1/2 miles south of the Petawawa River. The 
area is generally directly north of the centre of the Racehorse deer yard. 

The animal was a Spike Horn Buck tagged July 29th, 1967 at 
3:30 p.m. The ear tag, plastic tag and rubber collar (49065) were attached by 
L. Trodd, Pembroke, after immobilizing the animal with anectine (1 cc). 

The ear tag was recovered off shore on the Ottawa River in 
Buchanan Township on January 14th, 1969 by Lome O'Brien, Conservation Officer, 
Pembroke. This area is east of the Atomic Research Centre. Deer commute 
between a yarding area here and a yard across the River in Quebec. The deer 
had been killed by wolves and ice condition at the carcass would not allow 
safe travel to attempt to locate the rubber collar. The head had been dragged 
by foxes closer to shore and the tag was recovered when the officer attempted 
to age the animal. 

The buck had travelled approximately 16 miles in a straight line 
over a period of 17-1/2 months. With this meagre information we are safe in 
saying that this animal commuted between yards. We may also say that a deer 
which was once in Algonquin Park left and must have been huntable at least one 




Big Game Biologist 


To see if methods used to catch roe deer in nets could be adapted 
for catching white-tailed deer. 


(1) What mesh size and strength of net is required to hold white-tailed 

(2) What is the best way to set a net so that it will "fish" properly? 

(3) Can white- tailed deer be driven into a specified area? 

(4) Can deer be caught in nets without using drives? 

(5) How can deer be handled after they are caught in nets? 


Two kinds of netting were tested. Two standard whale nets, 140 
yards by 21 feet, were split lengthwise to produce 600 yards of 6-feet wide 
useable net. This net was 375 pounds test and 19 inch stretch mesh. The price 
was about $26. per hundred yards of useable net. 

The second type of netting had to be specially woven by the 
company. Two lengths were ordered, each 100 yards by 12 feet and these were 
split lengthwise to produce 400 yards of useable nets. These nets were 468 
pounds test and 12 inch stretch mesh. The price was about $90. per hundred 
yards of useable net in the quantity ordered, (i.e. about $375. per two 
hundred yards). Net prices are only approximate since they are by the pound. 
Nets are available from John Leckie Limited. 

Other materials used were 500 yards of quarter- inch nylon rope 
for sidelines on the heavier nets and 500 yards of hemp rope for guidelines. 
"Capchur" guns and long-handled prods holding drugs were prepared for handling 
deer in the nets. The drug used was a tranquilizer called "Tranvet". Plastic 
garbage bags with cotton wads soaked in chloroform were tried as an alternative. 
Standard ear tags with streamers were used for marking. 


Attempts were made to catch deer in the nets during March of 
1967, 68 and 69. In 1967 nets were tried in Lake Huron, Parry Sound, and 
Lindsay Districts. In 1968, due to light snowfall they were tried only in 
Lake Huron District. In 1969 they were tried in Parry Sound and Pembroke 

Nets were split into 6- foot widths for use and were handled by 
coiling them into burlap sacking. Sidelines of quarter- inch nylon rope were 
bound onto the top and bottom of the heavier nets. Nets were set vertically, with 
care being taken to have the lower edge in contact with the snow as much as 


They were hung in 4 different ways - (1) on 2 by 2 inch poles 
set upright in snow, (2) on tree branches, (3) on quarter-inch hemp guide 
ropes which were first strung out and looped over branches and around trees, 
using plastic rings to clip the net sidelines to the guide ropes, (4) on 
guide ropes using No. 10 thread to tie the sidelines to guide ropes. 

Five different kinds of locations were tried: (1) Along a woods 
road in a deer yard, (2) in a part of the deer yard not continually used by 
deer but with well-used trails through it, (3) around the edges of a deer yard, 
(4) where deer were actually seen, (5) where fresh tracks of deer were located. 

Drives were carried out in four different ways: (1) using three 
power toboggans to drive the deer from thick bush, (2) with about 6 men on 
snowshoes walking within sight, or at least hearing distance, of each other 
through the deer yard, (3) a short drive of about 1,000 yards using 3 men on 
snowshoes, (4) several individuals on snowshoes, each walking independently. 

To catch deer without drives, two kinds of sets were tried: 
(1) nets were hung in the same way as for drives, left overnight and checked 
in the morning, and (2) a cedar tree was felled and nets were hung in a complete 
circle around it. 

We tried three ways of handling deer in the nets: (1) by 
injecting the Transet, (2) by placing over the deer's head a plastic garbage 
bag with a cotton wad soaked in chloroform, (3) without drugs by pushing the 
deer into deep snow with snowshoes. 


In the 5 days during 1967 when whale nets were actually in place 
for capturing deer, 20 deer entered the nets and became partly entangled. Only 
one was actually caught and handled. In view of a mild winter in 1968 the 
specially woven nets were set on only two days. The one deer which got in 
them was not caught. In 1969, the specially made nets were set on 4 days 
during which 9 deer entered the nets and 4 were captured. Of these four, one 
was injured and had to be killed. The other three were tagged and released. 

In two places nets hung on poles were knocked over by deer which 
then kept on going. Nets hung on tree branches were firmly held and were not 
pulled down by deer. The use of a guide rope greatly facilitated setting the 
nets. Plastic rings were easy to apply, but the one deer which ran into the 
nets when the rings were in use was not caught. Tying the net up with thread 
was time consuming and uncomfortable in cold weather, but 4 deer were caught 
using this method of attatchment. 

After an afternoon of driving, 4 deer were finally chased into 
nets which were set along a wood road. Only two deer were driven toward a 
net set in a less frequently used part of the deer yard, and one went under 
the net while the other turned back. We were unable to drive deer into nets 
set around the edges of a deer yard. All of the 9 deer which entered nets in 
1969 did so with nets placed either where deer had been seen immediately before 
or where very fresh tracks indicated their presence. 

Three men on power toboggans chased deer about all afternoon 
before finally driving 4 into the nets. They failed to drive any into nets 
on a second occasion. Six men walking in line drove 1 deer into nets on each 
of 2 drives. On another drive they brought about 12 deer toward the nets but 
the deer turned off and by-passed the end of the nets. Three men drove 4 deer 
into nets in 2 drives and 7 more passed through a gap in the nets. On another 
drive no deer reached the nets. At another set, 3 men drove 4 deer into nets 
in one drive and 5 more passed by the end. Three men working independently were 


unsuccessful In getting any deer Into the nets, although 2 deer passed close 
by the end of the nets. 

Nets hung overnight in 1967 had 4 deer in them but all escaped. 
In one afternoon, 5 deer entered nets and escaped while the men were having 
dinner. In 1969 one deer was caught in a net left hanging overnight. It was 
tagged and released. When the cedar tree was felled in 1967, three deer became 
entangled during a 24-hour period. One was seen in the net but all escaped. 

The first deer caught in 1967 was injected with "Tranvet". 
After about 15 minutes, this 4-6ear old, 120 pound doe was tranquil and easy 
to handle. It was sacrificed for a study of reproduction. In 1969 one deer 
escaped while three men stood looking at it in the net, two of them firing 
dart guns at it. Plastic bags with chloroform did not act fast but eventually 
made deer easy to handle. The act of placing an opaque bag over their heads 
quieted them to some extent immediately. In all cases, the first problem was 
to approach the deer. All four deer tagged in 1969 were easily approached 
because they were well tangled in the nets. Pressing the deer into deep snow 
with snowshoes and sitting on them proved effective for short periods. 


Whale netting is not adequate for catching white-tailed deer. 
The large mesh allows deer to go too far through; the knots slip releasing the 
deer; and the strands can be broken. The specially made nets are very satis- 
factory. No deer got through the nets nor broke any strands. 

The use of 2" x 2" poles is unnecessary and not very effective. 
Hanging the nets directly on trees is not effective either. The nets must be 
hung so they will fall when deer hit them. The use of guidelines and sidelines 
on the nets greatly facilitates this kind of arrangement. The use of thread 
to hold the nets up is effective. Plastic rings are faster and easier to 
use but they have not yet been sufficiently tested. 

To catch deer, nets must be set where deer are normally 
moving about. It is difficult to drive deer from one area to another but it 
is easy to drive them back over trails they have just used. Therefore, 
shorter drives are more effective than long ones. Power toboggans are not 
very useful for driving deer. Several men on snowshoes are effective over 
short distances but cannot expect to drive deer long distances. Even three 
drivers can be effective when nets are properly placed. 

Deer can be caught without drives by merely hanging nets in 
areas which they normally frequent. Whether this can be done frequently 
enough to be useful in tagging reasonable numbers of deer was not established 
in the trials thus far. 

Although tranquilizers are effective in handling deer, they are 
too slow acting, and are not necessary. "Capchur" guns are not very useful. 
The chloroform in plastic bags works well, but again rather slowly. The mere 
act of putting an opaque bag over the deer's head seems nearly as effective. 
The problem of approaching partially caught deer was not solved, but deer 
well tangled up in the net, are no problem. Using heavier netting and setting 
the net so it will fall on the deer facitlitate this result. 

Although some details remain to be worked out, the technique of 
catching white- tailed deer in nets has been shown sufficiently effective to be 
considered an operational method. It should be possible with practice not only 
to catch occasional deer but to catch them in large numbers. The facility 
with which deer can be caught was illustrated by the last attempt where two 
deer were caught in the first drive in an unfamiliar area after several traps 


had yielded no tagged deer during an entire winter. 


Any district which wishes to try catching deer with nets should 
apply to Maple for loan of the specially made nets on hand there. Districts 
which plan to do a lot of work should order their own. Even 100 yards can be 
effective but 300-400 yards provide more flexibility and better chances of 
getting deer. 

Nets should be set where deer are known to be present and short 
drives mounted with as many men as are available. It is useful to leave one 
or two men near the net so they can approach any caught deer more quickly 
and help prevent injury to the deer. A "throw net" made of a 6' x 6' square 
piece of the netting should be tried as a means of handling partially caught 
deer. There is room for further experimentation on handling methods but even 
a burlap sack over the deer's head may prove sufficient. 

Several districts should be encouraged to try netting deer in 
large numbers next winter. 





Allan EDIE and John HENDERSON 


Starting in the winter of 1962 and continuing through the follow- 
ing five winters, non- commercial cutting to stimulate the growth of deer food 
was carried out in Car ling #2 Deer Yard, Parry Sound District (Killbear Point 
Provincial Park Deer Yard). The treatment consisted of the clear cutting of 
approximately twenty- six acres of hardwoods adjacent to hemlock shelter areas 
throughout the yard. In 1962 a pre- treatment browse survey was carried out 
and in 1969 a post treatment survey was done. Both surveys employed a modified 
version of the Passmore-Hepburn method for Appraisal of Winter Range of Deer. 
Instead of counting the twigs on each stem and determining the percentage of 
twigs browsed per stem (as was the original method), a simple stem count was 
made and each stem was classified into one of four categories according to the 
intensity of browsing. The purpose of this report is to analyse the results 
of the surveys as well as possible and to discuss the limitations of the 
survey method used. 


To facilitate the interpretation of this report, the following 
definitions should be studied. 

Stem - A unit of vegetation consisting of a single branch or trunk at 

its origin from the ground or at its point of growth from a stump 
or felled tree in the case of coppicing, and producing twigs 
available to deer, (i.e., twigs between 1-1/2 feet and 6-1/2 feet 
above ground level). 

Browsed A stem with one or more twigs that have been browsed, but not a 
Stem - mutilated stem. (Editor's note: standard definition of "browsed 
stem" includes mutilated stems). 

Mutilated — A stem which has been so heavily browsed that nearly all the twigs 
Stem are removed and usually the plant is disfigured, stunted or both. 

Killed - A stem that has been killed by over -brow sing. 

Living - A stem that is alive at the time of the survey. This category 
Stem includes unbrowsed, browsed and mutilated stems. 

The 1962 and 1969 surveys were both conducted in the same manner. 
In both surveys, sample plots measuring one chain by 2 feet were laid out along 
the same compass lines in the deer yard area. The plots were positioned by 
pacing at every fifth chain along the compass lines. The actual size of a plot 
was measured by laying out a rope one chain long and measuring the width of 
the plot with sticks marked off to give a plot 2 feet wide. The results of 
the two surveys have been compiled in Table I. of this report. 



The intended purpose of the Killbear surveys was to measure a 
"hoped for" increase in browse supply due to the deer yard improvement work 
carried out in the yard. This essentially means that the surveys were supposed 
to reveal in quantitative terms the amount of browse available before and after 
the deer yard improvement work. The reasons why this information cannot be 
obtained from the surveys will be discussed later in the criticism of the 
survey method. Although the survey method cannot fulfil its original purpose, 
other information seems at hand in the results. 

The browsing pressure in the yard has increased markedly. The 
following calculations are in no way to be considered as accurate but only as 
a good indication of the browsing pressure. This indication is probably re- 
liable since the major source of error is known and probably affects the results 
in a predictable way. The major error is the one that is introduced by varia- 
tions in the amount of food that a stem yields. It was apparent^ while doing 
the 1969 survey, that the stems in the areas treated for browse were bushier, 
with larger, heavier twigs than the stems that grew under the normal over story 
of hardwoods in the yard area. This greater food supply per stem would tend 
to absorb increasing browsing pressure making any calculated increase in food 
use smaller than it is in reality. For this reason the following estimates 
can probably be considered as conservative. In obtaining the following estimates 
of increased browsing pressure only the four species of maple (striped, sugar, 
mountain and red) were used because they are the major suppliers of winter 
food for the Killbear deer, thus the maples should provide a reliable index of 
any change in browsing pressure. 


1962 - 629 browsed and mutilated stems per acre. 

1969 -1737 browsed .and mutilated stems per acre. 

increase = 1737 - 629 - 1108 browsed and mutilated stems per acre. 

1108 x 100 - 180% increase in browsed and mutilated stems 


1962 - 2551 living stems per acre. 

1969 - 2248 living stems per acre. 

decrease - 2551 - 2248 = 303 

303 x 100 - 127» decrease in living maples. 

Since the increase in browsed and mutilated stems per acre is not 
coupled with an overall increase in the number of maple stems, it seems that 
the browsing pressure has almost tripled. Another way of examining the increase 
in browsing pressure is utilized below. 



1962 - 12.5% browsed. 

1969 - 41.37. browsed. 

increase = 41.37. - 12.57. - 28.87. 

28.8% x 100 = 230% increase in percent of living stems browsed. 

Again the indication is that browsing pressure has increased 
approximately threefold since 1962. 



Grouping of the four maples above obscures the fact (apparent 
in Table I) that while all maples combined decreased in living stems per acre, 
red maple, the species that browse treatment was concentrated on, increased 
from 367 to 665 stems per acre. 


Virtually all of the loss in living sugar maple stems per acre 
(1001 in 1962 and 611 in 1969) occurred in six maple plots (of 116 in 1962 and 
126 in 1969) situated in a stand that supports dense sugar maple regeneration 
that followed logging in the 1950' s. In 1962 living sugar maple stems in 
these six plots totalled 187, but by 1969 the young maples had grown up to 
the extent that only 62 living stems bore available deer food. If these six 
plots were removed from the survey, living sugar maple stems would be 495 per 
acre in 1962 and 476 in 1969, or about the same. 


Both these quality deer foods lost ground in stems per acre. 
However, stems on treated sites were much more productive of food than in 
1962 (not revealed by the survey method) and utilization was much tighter. 


The marked increase in white birch can be credited to coppicing 
in treated areas. Good yellow birch stems were left standing in treated sites. 
Had they been cut to the same extent as white birch an increase would likely 
have resulted instead of a slight decrease (from 102 stems per acre to 89). 


Aspens, not important deer food in Killbear, increased markedly 
following treatment, although they remain relatively insignificant. Utilization 
by deer of these open grown specimens is quite high (447. browsed for large tooth 
aspen and 267. for trembling aspen). 


Mutilation of small hemlocks has risen sharply since 1962, 
probably reflecting a much larger deer herd utilizing an only moderately in- 
creased number of slow growing specimens. 



Blackcherry, chokecherry, ribes, blackberry, raspberry and 
elderberry have increased markedly as a result of clear-cutting for browse 
production. The apparent increase in mountain holly, a slow growing denizen 
of spruce swamps, is likely the result of a few more plots chancing to fall in 
dense patches of it than was the case in 1962. 


The purposes of browse surveys vary but for the most part they 
are intended to answer the following questions: 

(1) What species of vegetation are available for deer browse and what 
is the frequency of each? 

(2) In the aggregate, how much browse is available for the deer? (i.e. 
what is the carrying capacity of the yard?). 

(3) How much of the browse has been used by the deer, 

(a) on the whole? 

(b) of each species? 

(4) What changes in the above factors have resulted from environmental 
manipulation such as that done in the Killbear Deer Yard? 

Due to the sources of error in the stem count method used in 
the Killbear Yard, almost none of the above questions can be answered. There 
are two basic sources of error in the stem count system: 

(1) The significance of a stem. 

(2) The definition of unbrowsed, browsed, mutilated and killed stems. 

The significance of a stem raises problems because the amount 
of browse on a stem varies widely from species to species and from stem to 
stem within a species. One stem could consist of a large bushy food-laden 
plant and another could consist of a sparse plant with only two or three twigs 
but both plants are considered equal in the definition of a stem. Absolutely 
no reference is made to the amount of browse on a stem. This problem is particu- 
larly acute where deer yard improvement has been undertaken, as in the Killbear 
Yard, because the clearing of the overstory results in bushier, more vigorous 
plants with longer, heavier twigs that supply many times the food produced by 
the same species grown in the shade. 

The tallying of stems under the four headings, unbrowsed, browsed, 
mutilated and killed has associated with it problems similar to those associated 
with stem definitions. Each heading has its own sources of error, but the main 
problem is that none of the four categories gives any reliable index to browse 
availability or browse utilization. A second type of problem with these headings 
is found in examining some of the browse survey reports in "Resource Management 
Report". The problem arises in that the interpretations of the four categories 
are varied. This problem of interpretation was met in compiling the results 
from the Killbear browse surveys. It was only after a thorough discussion of 
the factors involved that a final interpretation was arrived at. 

The obvious increase in browse production was not revealed by 
stem counts because of the compounding of errors introduced by the interpreta- 
tion of the term "stem" and by the classification of stems. A twig count would 
have shown an increase, but twigs also vary greatly in the amount of browse they 
provide. In this light it seems obvious that counting methods must be either 
modified drastically or replaced by a better system. One of the possible 
alternatives that looks promising is the 'clip and weigh 1 method that is being 
tried in Croft #3 deer yard in the Parry Sound Forest District. If the system 
can be made reasonably accurate statistically without rendering it impractically 


expensive, the survey would give an estimate of the weight of the browse 
available in the yard. It seems that the clip and weigh method should also 
be capable of measuring the amount of browse utilized over a winter, but a 
method of obtaining this Information has not yet been worked out. 


MACFIE, John, 1962 - Spring Deer Yard Surveys, Parry Sound District 

PASSMORE, RoC, HEPBURN, R.L. , 1959 - A Method for Appraisal of Winter Range 

of Deer. Research Report No. 29. 

Miscellaneous Reports, compiled 1969 - Resource Management Reports, Ontario 

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Deer Range Ecologist 

We have heard the words "multiple land use" often today as they 
apply to forest management. It is a fact that public ownership demands more 
and more the multiple use of crown lands, and many foresters believe that this 
is an encroachment on the real function of the forest: timber production. However, 
looking upon the forest as a source of many benefits is now necessary. On that 
theme, I want to speak for the next few minutes about deer range management as 
an example of other purposes of forest management, as legitimate as timber product- 
ion. I will show, in general terms, what deer range management is and what it 
can mean to a forester, and more specifically how it is practised at present in 
Ontario and elsewhere. 

The most pressing demand in deer management is becoming the manage- 
ment of deer habitat. Although there are many mortality factors affecting a deer 
population, the important ones of hunting, predation, and road kills together re- 
move fewer deer than the annual increase of a healthy herd. The winter food 
supply is the greatest limiting factor. Winter food must not only be abundant, it 
must be abundant close to small areas where deer habitually concentrate in winter. 

Before I discuss the silviculturist 's and forest manager's role 
in deer range management , it will be of benefit to first consider what deer need. 
In wintering areas deer are sometimes confined very strictly by deep snows that 
prevent their travelling. The habit of deer to concentrate in winter yards in 
the northern part of their range poses deer management problems. Deer become 
particularly vulnerable when logging is stopped for whatever reason. The local 
food supply will decrease because no new browse-size material is added. In 
severe winters so many deer may die that much of the food they cannot reach that 
year because of restricted movement, grows too tall the following summer. This 
browse is then lost for the following years too. This vicious downward spiral 
may continue until the deer have disappeared altogether from previously good 

Food is only one of the two major requirements of deer. In fact, 
it seems that deer are not motivated at all by food supplies in their search for 
wintering areas. It is probable that they look for protection only and eat what- 
ever they come across. In the south, cover need be merely escape cover, but near 
the northern limit of their range deer need the type of shelter that seems to 
reduce the depth of snow on the ground. A combination of deep snow, say 22 - 24 
inches, and a crust they break through when walking, is murderous. 

I am not familiar enough with the long term trends of the deer 
herd in Nova Scotia to give you a local example o? how habitat influences deer 
and their range. The history of deer in Ontario, however, serves as a good 
example. When the white man came, deer were abundant only in a narrow strip 
along Lake Ontario. They moved north in the wake of the logging industry and 

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Institute of Forestry - Nova 
Scotia Section, Keltic Lodge, Ingonish, Nova Scotia. September 15, 1969. 


established themselves up to north of Sault Ste. Marie. White pine logging, 
hardwood logging, and pulpwood logging, all selecting the best stands and the best 
trees, created many openings and stand edges, producing browse; yet they left 
enough unwanted material to form the winter shelter without which there can be 
no deer. The peak in the deer herd occurred in the 20 's and 30' s. These were 
the good old days of the deer hunter. The deer herd has been declining since then 
because of decreased lumbering, so that much browse has grown out of reach and 
little is created any more. Also the shelter initially left by the loggers is 
now being logged because large stems are becoming scarcer. 

We can now put together a picture of what, in the north, 
determines the capacity of an area to support deer. We need coniferous shelter 
that, among others, reduces depth of snow on the ground, and browse has to be 
growing nearby. Cover species in decreasing order of importance are hemlock, 
cedar, pines, spruces, and balsam fir. The food preferences of deer may vary 
from one area to another, but in general the most desirable browse species are 
the maples, Viburnum spp., Amelanchier spp., various dogwoods, and both elders. 
Red cherry is important everywhere, and yew and cedar are important as long as 
they are plentiful. There is a long list of less important species. 

Deer winter in the same yards, year after year. What makes a deer 
yard is a complicated question, but it will suffice now, to say that a yard is 
where deer concentrate in winter. On the premise that we want deer in reasonable 
numbers, these deer yards are precious and must be maintained. It is a truism 
that stands of timber cannot be preserved forever. To maintain them in perpetuity, 
they must be managed. But managing them for deer habitat does not preclude the 
harvesting of timber. On the contrary, cover stands, always small, lend themselves 
well to an intensive type of timber management, particularly adapted to small 
holdings. Because clear cutting will destroy the yards, a selection type of 
management system should be followed. 

The older the stand is, the more pressing the need to start 
managing it, for it takes time to grow trees large enough to provide cover. Strip 
cutting and patch cutting are ideal and clear cuts of up to 50 acres are acceptable 
in large yard complexes where there are many small packets of cover. This is 
asking the timber manager to accommodate the deer range manager, yes. Accommodat- 
ing him does not cost in terms of wood production, however, although in some 
cases it will cost in terms of a lesser efficiency where normally large-scale 
clear cutting is practised. 

The price is small. First, in southwestern Nova Scotia, a large 
portion of the province, I suspect that there are no yarding areas with critical 
amounts of snow. Second, the areas of coniferous cover needed by deer are, in 
the aggregate, only a very small percentage of the forest land where they are 
found. Third, cover areas are usually small; and in small holdings, deer yard 
management objectives are easily compatible with timber management objectives. 
And finally, in new licences or in licence renewals on crown land, the need to 
manage the yards for wildlife purposes can be considered in the negotiations for 
the conditions of the licence. In other words, the licensee need not pay for the 
work in range management. 

The northern hardwood forest is not the best year-round habitat 
for deer, because of the periodic deep snows and attendant periodic large die-off s 
of deer. This same forest type offers the managers good opportunities though, 
for amelioration of the habitat, so that the large die-off s can be prevented or 
lessened. As far north as we are in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario 
many of the trees in this forest type are unsuitable for veneer or lumber, but 
there is an abundance of food species. Treatment for browse production in the 
absence of commercial operations consists normally of cutting cull hardwoods, which 
promotes sprouting from the stem base, and which releases shrubs already growing 
on the forest floor. The market for hardwood pulpwood is very restricted at 


present, and many of the trees that now stand can be cut to promote browse 
production by basal sprouting, without any loss other than the cost of felling. 
There is no doubt that much of the Cobequid mountain range in Nova Scotia, e.g., 
falls in this category. Research by the Department of Fisheries and Forestry 
has shown that good spruce can be grown there successfully, establishing it by 
planting, and browse can be produced by cutting hardwoods; in time commercially, 
no doubt, for a pulpmill. 

The greatest danger of browsing is that it will spoil many trees by 
deforming them. This is particularly true near winter deer yards. In some areas 
it is simply impossible to grow white pine and yellow birch because of deer. 
Ideally, the wildlife manager must always be empowered to manage the deer herd. 
If he cannot control the deer, timber values may suffer and chances are that the 
wildlife values are then also risked in spite of well meaning protectionism. 
Wildlife after all, depends on the vegetation. Over -populations can destroy 
vegetation and, incidentally, themselves. 

If we are allowed to manage in the true sense of the word, and 
keep deer populations in check, in game refuges too, heavy browsing is no longer 
a policy problem, but a management problem that we can cope with by, for instance, 
a periodic hunt. The vegetation manager can then begin to supply browse so dense 
or on such a large scale that enough stems escape. There are some questions we 
have no answer for yet, but we are working on them. We don't know e.g. how long 
species like red maple can live, being cut down all the time to stay within reach 
of deer all the time. Carrying some stems through to maturity means having a 
reserve available for treatment to produce browse in the future. There is a fine 
line between the number of trees adequate for a re-growing reserve of browse trees 
and the number of trees necessary to form a crop that is of lumber quality. We 
could raise the carrying capacity of any area so high, artificially, that periodic 
large die-off s will still occur, and that growing timber becomes too risky. 

What then, is the procedure in carrying out some of the practical 
work? Considering wintering areas for deer once again, the first responsibility 
is one for the wildlifer. He must locate all of the major yards. Mapping density 
of tracks in the snow from the air is the usual technique. The aerial mapping 
is usually repeated from year to year and then considerable knowledge is gained 
regarding the variability in size and number of yards. As a rule, without detailed 
sampling of the vegetation, recommendations can be made for habitat improvement 
after a visual inspection on the ground. It may be decided that the cover should 
not be touched for sometime or that the cover should be enlarged, or partially 
cut, to be replaced progressively by younger trees. Or it may be found that the 
coniferous cover is too extensive and should be more discontinuous, in which case 
openings should be created and maintained. Then they must make their recommenda- 
tions to the vegetation manager whose job it is to satisfy timber requirements. 
The consultative role of both must be recognized to bring about an effective 
dialogue. In Ontario some of the recommendations for wildlife management are now 
incorporated in the conditions for renewal of cutting licences. 

Another example of planning timber and deer range management 
jointly is seen in New Hampshire. The Game Commission there, I am told, is very 
efficient in dealing with private ownership of deer yards. They first find out 
about private owners' cutting plans in known deer yards, and then they write a 
management plan for each property scheduled for cutting. They try to sell these 
management plans to the landowners on the basis of timber values alone but they 
consider the wildlife values of course. In this way they have saved more than 
100 deer yards. 

I have had no time, in this talk, to discuss techniques, such as 
the control of canopy density to influence growth of deer browse, time of cutting, 
fertilization in relation to the growth of browse, and in relation to the nutrient 


requirements of deer. I hope to discuss these topics later this week with ray 
colleagues from the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests. 

In conclusion, then; I have considered how to involve wildlife 
values in forest management, and I have considered the merits of resource 
management, as opposed to the narrow approach of specialized management objectives 
of e.g. timber or wildlife. Finally, I have indicated how wildlife and timber 
specialists can co-operate for a common goal, the management of the forest system. 
Foresters are by training, and often by experience, in the best position to be 
forest resource managers, and to manage wildlife habitat, in consultation with 
wildlife specialists. I think that the forestry profession should take more of 
the opportunities for true forest management or the profession may lose out on 
her resource management function by default.